Sunday, November 28, 2010

Turkey Dinner Leftovers

You know, like most people who aren't vegetarians, I love a turkey dinner.  Sure, it is a big production, but in the end, it is so worth it (It is even more worth it when you have said dinner at parents house, because it always tastes SO much better).  But, as with all turkey dinners, there is usually a plethora of leftovers.  And not just of the bird, but of potatoes, veggies, gravy stuffing...well, you get the picture.  So I came up with a creative way of presenting these leftovers to make them exciting.  I call in my turkey dinner pizza.  It may seem a little odd, but it is a big hit in my little household.  Here is what you will need (well, really, what you need is just what is leftovers, but this is what I like):

2 Thin crust flat bread pizza crusts
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic
One large potato, cooked and thinly sliced
2-3 cups of shredded pizza mozzarella
Lots of ripped apart turkey
cooked carrots
(Anything else you may have)

Take all of the leftovers out of the fridge and let sit for about half an hour to bring to room temperature.  In the mean time, saute the onions and the garlic until they caramelize then remove from heat.  On the flat breads, spread a thin layer of the gravy over them.  This acts as your tomato sauce.  Top with the potato slices, stuffing, turkey, broccoli, corn, carrots, onions (the previous in any particular order you wish) then top with generous amounts of cheese.  Toss the pizzas in a baking sheet or pizza stone and put in an oven set at 350 degreesF for about 10-15 minutes - until the cheese is nice and melting a bubbly and everything is nice and hot on the inside.  When it is done, warm up any left over gravy you have and drizzle over top of the pizza.


-The reason I made two pizzas in the first place was to put mushroom on one of them.  Apparently it made the pizza that much better, but I fail to see how

-Really, put on anything you like, it will taste awesome.  If you are the people to have a ham as well (my parents are) add in some ham cubes to the pizza.

Enjoy!  Until next time,

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stroganoff Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes  Cook Time:  30 Minutes (ish)

I had a craving for Stroganoff the other day.  It just came to me that I wasn't feeling having simply steak and potatoes.  Stroganoff has such a wonderful flavour, it is definitely one of my favourite tasting sauces (minus the mushrooms).  I threw this recipe together and it seemed to turn out quite well; Sylvia really seemed to enjoy it and has requested it again, so I take that as the highest compliment.  Here is what is needed for around 4 normal sized servings (there was enough for us, plus Olivia and some leftovers):

2 striploin steaks (or top sirloin, just a really good cut of meat)
4 strips of bacon (because bacon makes everything better), chopped
3 shallots, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 cups of beef stock
couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp flour
2 tbsp cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Egg noodles

Trim most of the fat from the steaks and cut into thin strips.  In a cold frying pan, toss in the chopped bacon and then warm up to a medium heat.  When the bacon starts to crisp, put the beef in the pan and cook just until the red is gone (stirring constantly), about a minute and a half.  Don't overcook the meat, that is just cruel to your mouth.  Remove the beef and bacon from the pan, but leave all of the wonderful juices in the pan.  Next, toss in the onions and cook them until they start to turn translucent, then add the garlic and cook for a little longer until the garlic starts to cook.  Add the tomato paste and cook for a further few minutes.  Add the two cups of stock and the Worcestershire sauce, paprika and mushrooms.  Reduce the heat and add in the cream cheese and let simmer for about 10 minutes, until the stock has reduced by about a third.  Add the meat back into the pan and reduce the heat to low.  Whisk the flour into the sour cream and put into the pan.  Stir constantly until the sauce has thickened.  Serve over the cooked egg noodles and enjoy.


-For an even tastier dish, remove the mushrooms ;-)

-I assume, since this is a Russian dish, adding a little Vodka into the pan to de-glaze the bottom before the beef stock goes in would be good, but I think traditionally, some red wine would be poured into the pan to de-glaze

That's it for this week, enjoy


Linking up with Skip to my Lou & Extreme Personal Measures & Funky Polkadot Giraffe & What's Cooking Thursday & Paisley Passions

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Rösti Recipe

You know, this whole "working for a living" thing sucks.  There is never enough time now to juggle work and kids and recipes.  I know most people have/are going through it, but I haven't since I have been married with kids up until a couple of weeks ago, so it is fairly new.  Anyway, to continue on with my Swiss fair recipes, I am going to share my version of rösti.  So what is rösti anyway, you ask?  Well, it is like a potato pancake or hash brown kicked up a notch.  You could have it for breakfast I suppose, but we typically make it for dinner, as it is really filling and takes some time to make.  Here is what you need and how to make it:

4-5 white potatoes (you could probably use any, but that is what I usually use) coarsely shredded
2 shallots or one medium onion, finely shredded
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 eggs, divided
4 slices of ham
Raclette cheese (if you can find it) or cheese curd
generous amount of salt

Shred the potatoes and put into a sieve.  Try to squeeze out as much of of the moisture in the spuds as possible.  Sprinkle some salt on the potatoes to help prevent them from getting brown.  Put the shredded potatoes in a bowl, add in one egg, the onion, pepper and garlic.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.  In an oven safe frying pan (non-stick if possible), heat to medium heat, and put in a generous amount of olive oil.  Toss in the potato mixture into the pan and constantly stir for about 10 minutes to start cooking the potatoes. After the 10 minutes, form the potatoes into a patty and cook, for about another 10 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom.  Flip the patty over, (which may seem difficult, but you can either flip it in the pan, or slide it onto a plate and flip it back onto the frying pan), and cook for another few minutes.  Put the ham onto the rösti and then the cheese and toss into the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and gooey.  Fry up the remainder of the eggs (traditionally, served sunny side up, but we like them over easy) and put on the rösti when out of the oven.  Cut into sections and serve.


-You could make the rösti smaller without the toppings and serve as a side with a steak.

-To kick it up a notch, toss some raw bacon or pancetta into the potato mixture.

-You could also toss in some finely chopped broccoli and/or cauliflower to hide some veggies (we've done it before, and turned out well)

Hopefully, I will be able to post again before another two weeks, but really, it is all chore dependent.  This post took around 12 hours to get through.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Spätzli Recipe

A few weeks ago, I was in Switzerland.  It was a fun time and all, so I figured I will put up some traditional Swiss recipes for the next couple of posts (if I can think of that many).  To be brutally honest though, I think that Spätzli isn't really a Swiss recipe, I think it is a German/Bavarian dish, but hey, the swiss like it too (my Swiss wife loves it so it is now Swiss today).  Anyway, what the hell is spätzli you ask?  Well, it is like a distance cousin of a noodle.  It is like a little-flour-ball-dumpling-noodly-thing that can be used to replace a traditional noodle in just about any dish.  They are quite tasty and go down really easy.  Anyone that attended our wedding would have had spätzli as our main course.  To make them, you will need a spätzli making machine, or some creativitiy.  Here are a couple of spätzli makers.  Typically you can find them in any fine kitchen gadget store, or if you can't find one, you can use a colander or something with lots of semi small holes.


So this is what you need, and it is really simple.

2 cups of flour
1 tbsp salt
150ml water
3 eggs

Whisk the flour and salt together to get out any lumps.  Add the water and the eggs and stir with a wooden spoon.  Using the spätzli machine, begin to add the dough into a pot full of boiling, salted water,  forcing the dough through the holes.  You will know that they are down when they start to float.  It only takes a minute or so, but don't worry, that can't really over cook.  When they are done, take them out.  You can either serve right away, or, as we like it, toss them in a frying pan with some butter to crisp them up a little.  Serve them with your favourite sauce or just plain.


-Make a double batch and freeze half.  They are easy to make, but they also make a helluva mess

-Substitute 1 cup of whole wheat flour

I think that is it.

Until next time,

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Famous Seafood Chowder Recipe

So, I was going to save this one until the weather got a little colder, but since I promised my sister Sheila that I would put up the recipe here, I have to swap my timing up a little. I call it a my famous chowder recipe because those who seem to like seafood seem to really like it. I have been working on perfecting it now for quite some time, and I think that I finally nailed down a good and very flavourful recipe. (By the way, I will blog about my trip another time, but I needed to get this up before some fish starts to expire). So here is what you will need:

500 grams of mixed seafood (I use scallops, shrimp, haddock) and another 500 grams of Salmon (because I really like salmon)
1 can of lobster meat
4 strips of raw bacon, cut into pieces
2 tbsp of butter
3 small shallots, diced
3 gloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, cut into circles
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 large potatoes (I like to use one red potato for some colour), cubed
1/2 can of corn
1 bottle of clam juice
650ml of 18% cream
1 can of evaporated milk
A couple of handfuls of fresh parsley
many pinches of sea salt
couple of pinches of sage and thyme
generous amount of basil and a quasi generous amount of oregano

In a heavy bottom pot at medium heat, add bacon and the butter. The bacon fat adds a great flavour to the chowder. Cook until the bacon starts to change colour and then add the shallots and garlic and saute until the onions start to get translucent. Add the potatoes and the carrots to start to cook them for about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the celery and corn and then add the bottle of clam juice. Cook for another 4 minutes to reduce a little bit over medium low heat. Add the cream and the evaporated milk and all of the seasonings with the exception of the parsley. Bring to a low boil. Add the fish but not the Lobster meat. Cook covered over medium low heat, just to the point of where the broth is slightly boiling, stirring occasionally for a couple of hours. At the end, just before you are ready to serve, add the lobster and the parley. The broth will thicken up from the starch in the potatoes. Serve with a nice crusty loaf or garlic bread.

The longer you are able to cook the soup, the better it will taste. By poaching the fish in the broth, all of the natural fats get dissipated into the stock, making a richer flavour. Don't worry about over cooking the fish, it is slowly cooking and I have never had it go tough on me, just remember to only put in the lobster at the end. That will get tough.


- Instead of using the evaporated milk, put in a whole litre of cream

-Add any other fish you like (mussels, clams, crab, oysters) the more the merrier and a bolder flavour

-To go all healthy, substitute all the cream with evaporated milk.

Again, I will put up a post about the trip another time, and maybe if I want to go all touristy, I will even put up some pictures.

Until next time,

Friday, September 17, 2010

Gone away

Leaving for Switzerland tonight (friday, the 17th) and won't be back until the 4th of October. I guess that means there is a stong possibility that I won't be doing an update until I get back, but I promise for good stuff when I return.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Warm Salsa Dip Recipe

To continue on with my appetizer theme from last week, and the fact that my brain is fuctioning less and less these days with the lack of sleep (do to late night wake up calls from the Lexie), I am putting up the recipe for another appetizer.  This one is a little simialar to last weeks shrimp dip, but requires less time to prepare.  Here is what you will need:

1 brick of cream cheese
1 250ml tub of Sour cream
Juice of 1 lime
1 cup of shredder mozzarella cheese
Bag of Tostitos scoops

Blend the cream cheese and sour cream with lime juice together in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer.  Spread the mixture over a 9", oven safe pie dish.  Spread over a jenerous amount of salsa and top with the shredded cheese.  Toss the dish into the oven at around 350 degree farenheit for around 20 minutes, or until the cheese on top is nice a bubbly.  Serve with the Tostitos.


-If you aren't feeling the lime, you can leave it out

-Try adding a little fresh cilantro to the cream cheese/sour cream mixture

Until next time,


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Shrimp Dip Recipe

It is flaming hot outside!  I mean, if anyone disputes global warming with this heat that is currently making the any tupperware in the house melt.  And I don't know about anyone else, but I know that when it is terribly hot like it is right now (currently 30 degrees on the celsius scale, and tomorrow it is suppose to head up to 33...damn!), I don't really feel like eating.  It is a strange thing to say, but eating takes too much energy, and I don't have much of that with this blistering heat.  So in light of that, I only ever just want to eat finger food and little things to keep me awake, so I propose this shrimp dip recipe, which come to us from my sister-in-law's mother-in-law.  Here is what you will need:

2 cans of cocktail shrimp
1 jar of shrimp sauce (mild or spicy, depending on your taste)
1 brick of cream cheese, softened
1 250ml tub of sour cream
3 tbsp of mayo
1 or 2 tomatoes, depending on the size, diced
1 or 2 red onions, depending on the size, finely diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 cups of shredded cheese, mozzarella or marble
1 bag of Tostito's scoops chips

In a stand mixer of with a hand mixer, blend up the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise until nice a smooth.  Spread the mixture into a 13x9 casserole dish.  Top with the shrimp sauce, then shrimp, then the other veggies, then the cheese.  Serve with the Tortilla's.


-If you don't have any shrimp, you can replace with Tuna...naw, just kidding.

-For a lighter fair, use light mayo, cream cheese and sour really can't tell the difference

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Changing the Diaper

I know this is a little off topic from the recipes and such, but I feel that I should share with the world (or at least, the 9 people a month who read this) about changing Lexie's bum.  Before I get started, I know from time to time Sylvia or myself will say "change the bum" in front of other parents and get funny looks.  That is what we (and I think Sylvia will say just me, and she picked it up) say for changing the diaper.  I know, if you take it in the most literal meaning, it doesn't make a lick of sense, but hey, we are who we are.

Anyway, on to the changing of Lexie's bum.  You see, what makes it special and unique is that when you take off here diaper, this is the time that she decided to poop.  And I don't mean just a little girl trickle of poop, I am talking it is like a canon going off.  So when you change her, you have to hold her legs up and wait for the inevitable to occur.  Oh, and it doesn't stop there, no.  She then pees at us and decided to throw up at the same time.  All the orifices are getting a work out a changing time.  It didn't take us too long to set up a shielding system for us so that our clothes and whatever she is on when we change her (bed, floor, change table etc) gets the full brunt of Lexie.  There have been times, when we first brought her home, that we went through five diapers and three sleeper in one changing session!

In the end, she has such a satisfied look on her face after she explodes at us, it almost is worth it. 

..I am sure if she were to ever read this some time in the future, she would be mortified.  I guess that is what dads are supposed to do right?

Until next time,

Monday, August 23, 2010

Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce - Update

Just an update to my Spaghetti Bolognese sauce found here, faithful readers AlindaundMarkus pointed out that a real, authentic Bolognese should have a splash of red wine.  The recipe is now updated.  Thanks very much.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tuna Salad Melts Recipe

Who doesn't like a Tuna sandwich?  (I guess that is kinda a rhetorical question, I can think of at least two groups of people who don't like Tuna; my sister group, and those who are actually allergic to fish).  But aside from those crazy groups, mostly everyone can enjoy a tuna sandwich.  I like to make my tuna salad a little more exciting than the regular old, bland, put-some-mayonnaise-in-and-slap-into-two-peices-of-white-bread types of sandwiches. Why not go the extra mile (or kilometre for us Canucks and rest of the world) and make it into a melt and add some extra flavours and crunch to the sandwich.  This is how I make my Tuna Salad Sandwiches, and they seem to be a big hit with the family.

1 can of White Tuna (a little more expensive, yes, but much better tasting)
Sourdough or Calebrese bread
1 small tomato, finely diced
1 large dill pickle, finely diced
1/2 shallot, finely diced (just for a hint of flavour, not to overpower it)
Juice from half a lemon
Couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip)
Squirt of Mustard
Slices of your favourite cheese (I like to use a really old chedder for mine, Sylvia likes Swiss, but Provolone or nice stringy mozzarella is wonderful as well)
Regular salted potato chips.

Place a nice heavy bottom frying pan onto the stove and heat to about a medium heat.  The heavier the better because the heat is distributed much better.  Mix the tuna with the tomato, pickle, shallot, lemon, mayo, and mustard.  Cut the bread, whichever you use, into nice thick slices.  Spoon the tuna mixture onto the bread and top with some cheese.  Close the sandwich together and spread the butter on both of the outside sides of the sandwich.  Toss the sandwich into the frying pan and cover to keep the heat in (It will help melt the cheese.  After a couple of minutes, check to see if the bottom is nicely browned, the flip the sandwich and place the lid back on for another couple of minutes. When the sandwich is down, slice in half and serve with the potato chips - going all deli style.


-I like to add some either chipotle powder (just a little shake) or about an 1/8th of a teaspoon of canned chipotle peppers to the mix for some extra kick

-Instead if just having some chips on the side, open that sandwich up and put some in the sandwich.  It tastes great like that!

-You could always add some more veggies to the mix for kids who don't necessarily like eating vegetables, like some steamed zucchini or steam carrots

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Useful Tip of the Day - Getting Rid of Fruit Flies

I hate fruit flies.  I hate 'em.  Stupid little pests that are always up in your face whenever you want to grab an apple from the basket.  I swear these little buggers know when I am coming to leave where they are hiding harass me.  I have no quams about saying that it gives me great pleasure when I kill some of them, or in this case, a mass grave of them.  This little tip comes from, as far as I know, one of my "many" followers Kerl, who may have gotten this from her mother-in-law, but hey, why give others credit when you can take it for yourself.

Seems like a very simple way of ridding yourself of fruit flies is a little dish of some white vinegar and a sheet of pastic wrap.  Just put some vinegar into the dish and put the plastic wrap over top of it.  Poke a couple of little slots through the plastic wrap.  Turns out, fruit flies aren't very bright, and the smell of the vinegar attacts them into their pending sarcophagus, but they can't figure out how to get out once they are in there.  Then let the mass killings begin.  It sounds morbid, yes, but seeing those little nuisances floating around in vinegar warms my heart like a fine Scotch on a cool winters day.

That's about it for today.

Until next time,


Edit: Thanks Paul, my usual editor has given up on editing for me.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Caramel Cakes Recipe (Dulce de leche)

I am not feeling very insipred today to have a full meal or anything, so I thought that I would put up an easy dessert.  My Aunt Edna used to make these caramel cakes every Christmas, and they were one of my favourites.  Sinfully sweet. I got thinking about these the other day when I was dipping an arrow-root cookie into a jar of store bought dulce de leche. (Sounds odd, maybe.  Was it tasty?  Oh yes!).

The easiest way to make a dulce de leche is with a can of sweet condensed milk.  It takes all the guess work out of measuring things to make it the old school before-you-had-cans-of-condensed-milk-way.

So anyway, here is what you need for Caramel Cakes:

One can (or two, if you want to make a bunch) of sweetened condensed milk
12-24 store bought pre-made mini pie shells (the two bite kind if you can get them)
125ml Whipping cream
1 tbsp of icing sugar
Sweet Tooth

Place the can(s) of condended milk, with all the labels off of the can into a pot of boiling water, with enough water in the pot to completely cover the can.  Put a lid on it, but you will have to go back every so often to top up the water as it evaporated.  Always, always, always make sure that there water completely covering the can.  Can't be stressed enough - the can not completey submerged could lead to the can exploding, which is bad.  Boil the can for around three hours (seems like a long time, yes.  Is it worth it? Absolutely).  In the mean time, prepare the crusts.  They may need to go into the oven to brown or something.  When the time is up on the condesed milk, carefully take it out of the pot and let it cool completely before you open the can.  Spoon the nicely made dulce de leche into the crusts.  Top with fresh whipped cream (whip the whipping cream with the icing sugar until fluffy).


-To make a low calorie desert, substitute the entire desert with a stick of celery.  ;-)

Until next time


Sunday, August 1, 2010

More pics of the girl(s)

So many posts in such a short time? What the deuce? Well, alas, it is because I do not have a facebook account and I like when people come to my blog. Maybe, someone will try out one of my fabulous recipes. ;o) Anyhow, here are a few more picture of Lexie and there are two in here of Olivia, because she is damn cute as well.




Turtle...I mean, Lexie

And finally, a Lexie

That's all I got for now. I hope that appeases the masses...or at least my family.

Until next time


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce

Before I begin with my next recipe, if you come here looking for Lexie, she can either be found here or you can just scroll down past this post (but only after you take a minute to read my sauce ;-)  ).  Anyway, Spaghetti sauce.  I believe that everyone and their dog has their own different spaghetti sauce incarnation, and that is the beauty of a spaghetti sauce, because you can put whatever you want into it.  I would love to hear about your favourite way of preparing spaghetti.  Here is my Bolognese sauce that I like to prepare, and here is what you will be needing:

1 1/2 pounds of extra lean ground beef
796ml can of diced tomatoes
156ml can of tomato paste
2 shallots (or half large red onion) diced
3-4 gloves of garlic finely chopped
1/2 red pepper
1/2 green pepper
3-4 carrots, coarsely chopped and steamed
Quart of button mushrooms (optional)
salt & pepper and your favourite herbs & spices.  I like to use
Lots of Oregano
Couple of pinches of sage
Few pinches of Thyme
Couple of pinches of Rosemary
Couple of shakes of crushed red peppers
Tiny pinch of Cayenne pepper
Tiny pinch of chipotle pepper
3 Bay leaves

Peel and cut up the carrots and steam them until they are tender.  Put them in a food processor or blender (I don't have a food processor, hence the blender, but if you have a food processor, use that instead) with a little of the diced tomatoes (to help liquify them) and blend until smooth.

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat on medium with a generous splash of olive oil.  Saute the onions and garlic until the onion start to lose their colour.  Add the meat and cook until it is just brown, then add the tomato paste and the blended carrots from above.  Reduce the heat a little and cook the paste and carrots for about 7 or eight minutes.  Add the diced tomatoes and everything else at this point, including all of the herbs and spices.  Reduce the heat further, to low and cover.  Cook for as long as you can, as it will get better the longer that you can cook it, and stir occasionally.


-For a leaner meal, substitute ground chicken or turkey for the ground beef
-You can add meatballs to the sauce by combining:
       1/2 pound of ground beef
       2/3 cup of bread crumbs
       1 egg
       1/2 tsp garlic powder
       few shakes of crushed chili pepper
       Make into about half inch balls and parboil them in some water for a few minutes, then add to the
       completed sauce and simmer
-Steam different veggies like Broccoli or Cauliflower
-Add a splash of Red wine to the sauce, before you add the tomato paste.  Let it cook for a little minute to cook off some of the acohol.

So I think that is everything.  I does seem like a lot of stuff, but it is just constituents that most people, I think have in their kitchen.  If you don't have all the stuff, not to worry, it will still be great!

Until next time

Monday, July 26, 2010


The new addition, Lexie Eva Cameron, was born in the wee hours of July 25th, 1:21 to be exact.  The labour was super quick, and Sylvia got that baby out in about 7 minutes of pushing.  The first delivery nurse at the hospital was a little dense.  We came in, and Sylvia, never liking to show that she was in pain, was directed into a waiting room.  From there, the nurse left, gossiped with another nurse, went away some where.  In the mean time, Sylvia is getting in even more pain, and asked me to look for the nurse.  I could tell that something was up because when Sylvia says she is in pain, it means that she is really hurting.  So the nurse comes back, chats for another couple of minutes, goes into another waiting room, tidies up a bit, the decided to grace us with her presence.  When she checked Sylvia, Sylvia was fully dialated and her water broke.  The nurse tells me to run and grab another nurse, and in true E.R. fashion, Sylvia was rushed down to a delivery room and seven minutes, four pushes later, there was our newest little creation.  Perfection again! Mom and baby are doing great.

As for the vitals, Lexie was 3327grams, 50.5cm (7lbs, 5oz and 20 inches) long, with a full head of hair.

Here are a couple of pics:

-Andrew, Sylvia, Big Sister Olivia, and Lexie

P.S. I didn't proof read, for any English majors out there

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Philly Cheese Steak Recipe

Man, do I ever love cheese steaks.  I have never been to Philadelphia, so I can't really compare the ones that I make to the originals, but I would think that they can hold their own.  I love the combination of the warm steaks with onions and gooey melted cheese.  The thought just makes me hungry.  I tried out this way of making cheese steaks the other day, and all three and a half of us really enjoyed them.  For these cheese steaks, I had a big, left over barbequed Strip loin that I used, but in at the end, I will talk about cooking with a raw steak.  The important thing also is the choice of meat.  You have to use a good cut of meat like a strip loin because no one wants tough steak.  Here is what you will need.

1 large strip loin, trimmed of fat and cut really thin
3 strips of bacon, cut up into pieces
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 shallots or red onions, thinly cut
1/2 red pepper
1/2 green pepper
1 cup of beef broth
3 tbsp of heavy cream
shake of Worcestershire sauce
Sourdough bread
slices of real mozzarella (the nice stringy kind that you get in a ball), or Provolone

In a frying pan over medium heat, put in the cut up bacon and start frying that.  I used the bacon instead of olive oil to add to the flavours because, as we all know, bacon makes everything better.  When the bacon starts to cook, and some of the fat has melted off, add the garlic, shallots, and peppers.  Saute the veggies until the start to get soft.  Add the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce and reduce the heat.  Add pepper to taste.  Let the concoction reduce until there is about a third of the liquid remaining.  Add the meat and heavy cream.  Coat the meat with the sauce and reduce the heat.  Cut up the bread and put it on a cookie tray in the oven for a few minutes until is starts to toast a little.  Take it out and top with the meat and veggies and a generous amount of cheese, which is what puts this over the edge.  Throw the sandwiches back into the oven until the cheese start to melt and get all gooey.

Some Alternatives:

-You can make these without having the meat pre-cooked.  Again, I just (oddly) had a left over steak from a previous night.  To do this, after the veggies have started to cook, throw in the raw meat into the pan.  Because it is cut so thin, it will not take too long to cook, only a couple of minutes, just until it doesn't look raw anymore, but it can still be pink.  When you add the beef broth, the meat with continue to cook.  You don't want to over cook the strip loin, as it will get tougher, the longer it is cooking.

-Add whole peppercorns to the mixture for some added kick

-I like the open faced sandwich, but you can certainly make it on a submarine bun.  Just remember to toast it a little first, so it doesn't get soggy too quick


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Useful Tip of the Day - Spray n' Wash

So most everyone has heard of this product to effectively (for the most part) remove stains from clothes, but what about in other places?  Well, I find that Spray n' Wash (the kind in the picture below) is most useful in removing stains in carpets.  If you are one of the lucky few that doesn't have carpets in your dwelling, well, I am jealous and you can go and make one of the fine recipes found on this wonderful blog.  But, so the rest of you, Spray n' Wash is a fantastic solution to carpet staining problems.

I used this little bottle of joy today to remove a few old stains that were spotted on the carpet that I finally said "OK, I will try to clean them" after many weeks of looking at them and saying "I should really clean those up."  I used to use a product called Prosolve Pet Stain Remover because a)we have a pet and b)you would think that pets would produce the toughest stains.  This product worked OK.  You spray it onto the effected surface, wait 5 minutes, and dab off with a moist sponge or something.  Most of the time, it worked fine, but there were still some occasions that it did not remove all of the stain.  Enter the Spray n' Wash.  

In my quest for cleanliness, I decided to use some of the Spray n' Wash pictured above.  It has to be the Oxy stuff, as the other kind doesn't work as well.  I mixed about 4 parts water with 1 part of the Spray n' Wash in a little bowl and use a little scrubber brush to work into the carpet fibres, wait a few minutes and dab up.  Every stain came off of the carpet.  

So, why buy a specialty carpet stain remover when you can use something that you likely have in your house in the first place?


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Macaroni Salad

Summer time is a great time to go to barbeques and other social type functions. When we are invited to a barbeque where we are asked to bring something, we are usually asked to bring our Mac Salad.  We always like lots of stuff in our macaroni salad, so there are lots of flavours and colours in each bite.  So here is our way of making the salad:

About half of a bag (maybe a little more) of Scoobi-Do Noodles (that is what Italpasta calls them, but they are just like really swirly macaroni's) and you can use any noodles, really.
Salad dressing found here
3 heaping table spoons of mayonnaise
8 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled
1 can of tuna
2 chopped up, hard boiled eggs
1 small tomato, seeded and diced
1 shallot, finely chopped (or about half a red onion)
2/3 cup of chopped broccoli
2-3 dill pickles finely diced
1 cup of shredded marble cheese (or any other cheese you prefer)

Cook the noodles according to the package until tender.  While the noodles are cooking, prepare the veggies and the bacon.  In a large bowl, pour about 1/4-1/3 cup of the salad dressing and add the mayonnaise, whisk together (If, at the end, the salad seems a little dry, you can always add more, but it is hard to take away).  Add all of the ingredients, leaving a little bacon and cheese out to top at the end for decoration.  If you have some chives growing erratically in the garden, you can cut some up for the top of the salad as well.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wife's Salad Dressing

For most salads that we make these days, the dressing for the salad usually consists of this simple vinaigrette that Sylvia makes.  We used to make it with white vinegar, which made the colour neutral for whatever that you put it on.  In recent years though, we have switched over to a Balsamic vinegar, because Balsamic tastes just so much better.  The trade off though, is that your salad becomes quite a few shades darker, so the presentation isn't as nice, but as I said, it tastes better.  So here it is, in all its glory.

Start with 2 parts Olive oil (we use extra light, but any kind will do) to one part Balsamic vinegar.  We typically use around 300ml of oil to 150ml of vinegar
Nice squirt of mustard
Dollop of Mayonnaise (a heaping tablespoon)
Pepper and a little salt
Few shakes of Garlic Powder
Few shakes of Onion Powder

Whisk all the ingredients together or shake up in a salad dressing cup and enjoy.  It lasts quite long when put in the fridge, but the oil typically emulsifies (hardens) and you just have to take it out of the fridge for 5- 7 minutes before use, to sort of "defrost" it.

Some Alternatives:

You can use a little real garlic and onion (finely chopped) instead of powdered stuff.
Use Dijon instead of regular mustard for an extra kick.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

I love mac and cheese, but just not that slimy stuff that comes out of a box.  What is the point of that?  Sure it is quick and easy, but it really tarnishes the good name of a good ol' mac and cheese.  I have to start and say that there was a time when I didn't like mac and cheese.  I used to have a phobia of melted cheese, if you can believe that!  For this macaroni and cheese I have to give some credit to my mum, as most of this recipe is hers.  Here is what you will need:

Elbow macaroni (as much as you like, because it always expands, but I don't know, 2 dry cups?)
2 cups of milk
2 or 3 teaspoons of flour
about 2 cups of your favourite shredded cheese (I like marble, because it pleases both myself and Sylvia, but you can also use about a cup of really old and stinky cheddar cheese and a cup of mozzarella)
2+2 tablespoons of butter
some chopped up cooked ham
one shallot (or any other small onion), loosely chopped up
bread crumbs
squirt of mustard
Couple of dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
salt and pepper

Prepare the macaroni as stated on its package.  In the mean time put 2 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan and warm over medium heat until the pot is warm.  Coat about a cup and a half the shredded cheese with the flour then add to the pot with a little salt and lots of pepper.  Whisk constantly until the sauce starts to thicken and then reduce the heat and add a squirt of mustard and the Worcestershire sauce.  Warm up frying pan with a little olive oil and fry the shallot until caramelized.

Put the drained macaroni into a casserole dish and mix in the onions, ham, and cheese sauce mixture.  Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter and mix in with some bread crumbs until bead crumbs are moist, but not clumpy.  Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top of the macaroni and then sprinkle the bread crumbs on that.  Put the casserole into the oven at 350degF and cook until bubbling.  Enjoy :o)

Some alternatives:

-You don't have to limit your cheese to only two cups.  More cheese is always better ;)
-Replace the bread crumbs with some crumbled up regular potato chips (seems odd, but adds a nice touch)
-If you have any left over boiled potatoes, chop them up and mix them into the noodles.  My mother-in-law does that and it is surprisingly good
-Crumble up some blue cheese or gorgonzola and mix it into the noodles for some extra flavour
-Steam some broccoli and cauliflower, chop it up and add it to the macaroni to get your veggies with this dish.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Naming a Baby

Having a baby is one of those special, wonderful times yada yada yada... Everyone has heard those lines piped up many times. But what people don't know, especially those who don't have any kids, is how incredibly stressful it is. First of all, there is the wife portion of the equation. She is the strong one who carries around the baby and has to deliver. But what about the dad? We have to go through the having to eat ice cream and junk food all the time out of sympathy (please note the deadpan there).

Then there is the colour scheme of the baby's room. Since we don't know what we are having, we had to pick a neutral colour. But then the discussions happens of what exact colour to make the room. Do we choose a brown? A yellow? If yellow, a lemon yellow? Canary yellow? There are hundreds of different names and shades for the simple colour of yellow!

BUT, the absolutely most stressful part about having a baby (especially when you don't know the sex) is naming the little monster. Even before Sylvia was pregnant with our second baby, we were talking about what kind of names we like. There are never any (or so few anyway) that two people can agree on. I can't imagine how people come to the decision to name the baby. No wonder in the old days everyone was junior or the third or something like that, because that was easy. No arguing whether the names Zelda and Zoltan go with Cameron. No arguing that Flavio sounds too much like a gay adult star's stage name (not that there is anything wrong with that. A person's sexual preference is no body's business but their own). No discussion that Dario sounds too much like Mario (another great choice) who reminds a person of a small, fat plumber who jumps on Koopa Troopa's and mushrooms. No conversation that Trent reminds some people of the river in Peterborough, and not of the great Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails for anyone who doesn't know). No thoughts that Oscar would make people sing the Oscar Meyer Wiener song.

And where do we, as parents, get the right to name the baby anyway? Olivia never asked to be an Olivia. Maybe she, when she grows up, decides that Ursula fits her personality much nicer. The audacity of parents to name a child. And what about poor Apple Martin, Dweezel and Moonbeam Zappa? What is wrong with these people! I know we want unique, but really. Or we can go on the other end of the spectrum and name our child the most popular name in the world; Mohammed (or the countless other ways of spelling that name). I am sure that Mohammed Cameron would go so nicely together. I saw four kids playing the other day and two of them were named Mohammed!

When it comes down to it, naming the baby is certainly the hardest thing. It has been at least 34 weeks now that we have been in discussion about the baby name, and we are only slightly closer than when we started.

Babies are a wonderful thing. We are lucky to be able to have one already, and then have another on the way, when there are so many people who aren't able to have children when they want them, so I can't really complain, because my ranting is really trivial.

Until next time

Monday, June 21, 2010

Homemade Baby Wipe Recipe

We decided the other day to try to make our own baby wipes, just for the shear reason because we can. We found a recipe for homemade wipes here, but I will summarize the method.

1 roll of strong paper towel, select-a-size (scott paper towel, Spongetowels)
2 cups of water
2 tbsp of baby bath soap
2 tbsp of either baby lotion or baby oil (or we did one of each)
1 container to put all the stuff in (We used an empty wipes container)

Cut the paper towel roll in half and remove the cardboard roll. Place it into the container and pour the slurry of all the ingredients over it and wait for about an hour for the paper towel to absorb all of the liquid. Ta da, that is all there is to it.

-Easy and quick to make
-Much cheaper than buying a tub of wipes
-You know what all the constituents are in the solution
-Clean the bum rather nicely

-Cutting a roll of paper towel in half is damn hard. I had trouble cutting through with my really sharp bread knife. It is almost as though you would need a band saw to cut through easily.
-Getting the wipes off the roll, either from the inside or the outside proved rather tedious, but that might be due to the tub that we used to house the wipes.

I figured a better way to prepare the wipes, so that it is easy to access the wipes.

Using the same ingredients as above, take a roll of select-a-size paper towel and tear them apart. Place them in the container, interlinking them when you over lay them, so that when you pull one out, the next one (ideally) will follow. When they are all in the container, pour the slurry over them.

Similar to above, but it is a heck of a lot easier to get to the wipes and pull them out

Much more time consuming, but really worth it when you have to do a midnight changing and you can't fiddle around with trying to find the start of a wipe.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010


One of our favourite meats to eat is salmon.  It is light and flakey and always turns out just perfect.  It is a very forgiving meat if you leave it in the oven or barbeque a little longer than needed.  I have a few ways that I like to prepare Salmon, and here they are.

Simple Steamed Salmon:

1 nice single serving size of salmon fillet
Half a lemon
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
pinch of dill (dill is fairly over powering)
pinch of sage
salt and pepper

Place the salmon on some tin foil.  If there is no skin on the piece, put a little olive oil on the foil first, to prevent it from sticking.  Drizzle with a little more olive oil and the lemon juice and add the herbs, salt and pepper.  Fold the foil together and pinch the ends to make it air tight.  Place on the BBQ at medium high for around 12 minutes, or until done (I listen to the package, and if it is just sizzling away, chances are it is pretty done).  If you can't BBQ, throw it in the oven at 375 for around 15-20 minutes (I find that the oven takes longer).

Kicked Up a Notch Salmon:

In addition to the constituents listed above add:
Cream Cheese
1 finely chopped garlic clove
Half to one full shallot (depending on the size, and the shallot can be replaced with any onion you have)

Slice the salmon around every 2.5cm so that there are spaces to put the cream cheese, just don't slice all the way through.  Stuff the cream cheese in the slots.  Sprinkle the shallot and the garlic on the salmon and finish preparing with the ingredients from the simple steamed salmon and cook as stated above.

Maple Salmon:

Serving size of salmon
Maple syrup (has to be real maple, and not Aunt Jemima synthetic stuff)
pinch of salt.

Take a fork and pierce the salmon in a few places to help get all that good maple syrup into the salmon.  Drizzle with the maple syrup and the pinch of salt.  The sweet and the salty work nicely together.  Prepare as stated above.

We like to have this with spaghettini and Rose Sauce with steamed vegetables.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rose Sauce

So I had some company come over the other day and I needed to whip up a sauce that was both tasty and easy because I was limited with time and I was cranky, so I came up with this Rose Sauce.

1 or 2 shallots (depending on the size) finely chopped
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of butter plus 1 tablespoon of EVOO (prevents the butter from burning)
1.5 cups of milk
3 teaspoons of flour
1/2 cup of crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons of fresh or dried parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons of shredded mozzarella cheese
couple of shakes of crushed red peppers
pinch of sage
few generous pinches of Basil
few generous pinches of Oregano
salt and pepper
little bit of chipotle seasoning if you can get some

In a sauce pan, heat the butter and EVOO over medium heat. Add the shallots and the garlic and saute until nicely caramelized. Add flour to a measuring cup and add water and stir until flour is blended with the milk, then add to the pot. Whisk continually until the sauce start to thicken. Add the tomatoes and the seasonings and cheese, and reduce the heat to low, stirring occasionally.

I used dried herbs, as that is all I had, but fresh herbs is absolutely welcome when available.

This took me about half an hour to make, as I wasn't entirely sure what I was making until I really started going at it. The sauce was served over a bed of spaghettini.



Monday, June 7, 2010


I don't think in history anyone has ever said "You know what, being a Dad is a piece of cake." Well, maybe there are some people who have said that, and those people fall under two categories: The fathers that are never around, and have the mother completely take care of the baby and the deadbeat dads who run away from the family. But those types of people don't really count anyway, so I will not further discuss them.

For the past year and a bit I have been a stay-at-home dad. I started when I was still writing my thesis, and continued until this day, and will continue now until I find a job. The decision to stay at home was was easy and tough at the same time. It was easy, because who wouldn't want to have a Sugar mama (thanks hon) to take care of the bills while I get to play with my daughter and toys all day. It was tough, because I really want to try my chops at working in a real job, where I have to use my brain (I currently work at a video store part time).

It has been a satisfying year. I have learned much in responsibility and how to take care of another human being. I have been able to teach my daughter in the ways of the Force, about Yoda, how to count, colours, help her master walking. All the good things. For me, it would be tough not to want to be involved in these learning steps in her life. I know that my wife says it sucks to be gone all day, and only getting to see the little turkey for a couple of hours at most every day.

I will have to continue my thoughts on fathering on another occasion, as my kid has just taken all my video games out and they are scattered all over the floor.


Ironing the Carpet

So I never thought that my first post would be on some sort of useful house hold activity. Since we have another baby coming, we have decided to move around some furniture in the living room to make room for even more baby stuff! I, being the wonderful husband that I am, decided to move a shelving unit full of movies down into the dungeon (the basement). It weighs a ton, so when I removed it from its resting place for the previous three years, there were some serious carpet dents (you know, those indentations that are left when heavy things are stationary for an extended period of time).  

Me being me, these bothered me to no end, so I decided to do a little research on line to see if there were any methods to remove, or hell, even lessen the visibility of said marks. There were two methods that I found that people were talking about. One was to take an ice cube and place it in the dent. Apparently, after the ice cube melts and starts evaporate, that will fluff up the carpet. This seemed a little odd to me, and with the size of the indentation it would have taken until we move to another house to get the indentation out. In addition, the carpet would be like a swamp with all the ice I would need to use. Also, what I don't understand is why an ice cube? Why not just pour a little water on the area? Seemed a little odd to me.  

The second method was to take a shirt and an iron, with the iron set on steam. The idea being that the steam would penetrate (hehe) into the carpet and lift the dented fibers up. The shirt was used as a barrier between the iron and the carpet to prevent the carpet to melt (because the carpet is nylon, so high temperatures = bad news). I decided to try this method, because the area that the dent covered was large, and I thought after likely five years, that the iron should be used at least once. To my complete and utter amazement, after about two minutes and a whole whack of steaming the area, the dents were completely gone. Now I have to go to all the other areas in the house and start to iron the carpet like a mad man.  


Edit: Apparently, the official name for these furniture dents is Furnident! Thanks Karin.
P.S. This is a repeat post from the 29 Minute Mark
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